Samsung Plasma TV Troubleshooting

By Omar Saad

Plasma TVs have a reputation for being amongst the highest-quality TV technologies currently available. They offer the highest contrast ratio and screen brightness along with having a refresh rate fast enough to display any high-motion scenes with no digital artifacts. Among plasma manufacturers, Samsung has put out some of the best-selling brands. With any electronic device, however, there can be technical glitches or problems. Let's take a look at how to troubleshoot some of the more common problems found on Samsung plasma TVs.

Some Common Problems and Their Quick Fixes

Fortunately for those of us who decide to invest the money to purchase a plasma television, the problems we may commonly encounter with them tend to be minor and easily fixable. An example of this can be found when attempting to utilize the Picture in Picture feature. Often, when purchasing their new plasma TV, people are excited to use the Picture in Picture (PIP) feature. PIP allows you to view two channels simultaneously in either a split screen or box within a box mode. Often, new users of PIP mode encounter nothing but static on the second screen or a situation where the same channel is being displayed on both screens. If you are hoping to take advantage of the PIP feature, it is very important to note that you must have two independent sources of video going into your television in order for it to work properly. To that end, you will need to make sure that your cable television or satellite dish receiver has a second independent output option. Many higher-end cable and satellite DVRs do indeed have this option, but if PIP is important to you, it's best to make sure beforehand. Owners of the xx34, xx54 and xx64 series of Samsung plasma TVs may experience a disconcerting issue with their televisions from time to time. These particular models are known to have an audio issue that causes them to go intermittently silent for no apparent reason. This can be either right at start-up or well into the viewing experience. Fortunately, this is an easily remedied problem. Samsung has made an easily installed firmware update available for these TVs. If your TV is in need of the update, please see the link below in the "Resources" section of this article. A quick download and install will solve your intermittent audio dilemma.

Screen Burn, Stuck Pixels and Blue Blobs

Like any other plasma television, the Samsung line of plasma screens can suffer from screen burn or stuck pixel issues. Screen burn is an image ghosting effect that is caused by keeping a static image on the plasma screen for an extended period of time. An example would be the logo of a TV station or the menu of a DVD. This issue is unique to plasma TVs. The resulting screen burn is seen as a residual "ghosting" of the static image once the original image has been removed. The easiest way to remedy screen burn is to utilize a combination of Samsung's built-in screen burn protection utilities such as "All White" or "Signal Pattern" and allow some time for the ghost image to dissipate. It should be noted that as your plasma ages, it will become more difficult to remove residual screen burn images. Another malady common to plasma TVs are stuck pixels. This is where a red, green or blue pixel will fail to reset and remains conspicuously on the screen in the midst of the new images being displayed. While Samsung does not have an official fix for stuck pixels, there is a useful third-party program called JScreen Fix. This utility stimulates the pixels in the television through an intensive and prolonged burst of colored static. Many times this is enough to remove the stuck pixel. To utilize this program, you will need to run it off of a laptop that is hooked up to your plasma television. To download JScreen Fix, please see the link provided in the "Resources" section of this article. From time to time an issue may not be officially recognized by the manufacturer in their troubleshooting guides but may still be significant enough to affect a number of their units. An example of this can be found in the "blue blob" issue found in some Samsung plasma TVs. While it does not have an official moniker, many of the anecdotal postings on various internet help forums have dubbed it the "blue blob" issue due to the characteristic neon blue aberrations that appear on portions of the screen. While it may appear that a TV suffering from this problem may require a panel replacement, the actual culprit is a miscalibrated voltage regulator. Sometimes the voltages are slightly off when the television leaves the factory, and while it is not a serious issue it can result in this visually unpleasant phenomenon. The fix involves a quick call to a certified repair technician, 20 minutes of his or her time to recalibrate and around $50 in labor. While the fix is quick and easy, it should not be attempted by someone who does not have a keen knowledge of the inner workings of a flat-panel TV and experience working with electrical components in general. The potential for serious injury from electrical shock is high when attempting this fix and therefore is not a recommended do-it-yourself project.